It has been now more than 60 years since the establishment of Pakistan. 60 years of huge transformation, 60 years of extreme misery and yes 60 years of a major social and economic change in Pakistan and the sub-continent. Mr. Arif Hasan, Vice chancellor of TIP, briefed the students on the changes we have seen after the creation of Pakistan. A large number of students and faculty members attended the event. The event was basically arranged for the 2nd year students taking the Liberal Arts course. Mr. Arif pointed out six major causes for this social and economic change including Migration from India, Agricultural technology and Urbanization.
Discussing the event of post partition migration of 1947, he said 48% of the population came from India and 82% of them set in Punjab. Hindus and Sikhs were pushed away at certain places. This migration completely destroyed the ‘Punchaait System’ and from a multicultural and multi-religious society, we moved to a uni-religious and uni-cultural society.
The second point he discussed was about the introduction of technology in agriculture. Hybrid seeds were introduced, but these seeds required fertilizers and pesticides. These new seeds changed the rural society. Formerly, agriculture system was entirely managed by feudal system and was financed either by the feudal or loans. Technology brought a revolution by introducing tube wells, fertilizers and transportation.
He then talked about the SUZUKI revolution. According to him, these SUZUKIS became the main form of transportation for agricultural goods. The very same thing happened in fisheries where mechanization allows boats to go deep into the sea and catch more fishes. He further highlighted the current situation that now unfortunately a fisherman has to pay to buy his own fish as well.
Discussing about urbanization, he said that we have more than 50% of urban population where many of the urbanized cities too have some rural areas. He emphasized that currently Karachi requires around 80,000 houses per year and 61% of Karachi population lives in informal areas. Katchi Abadis have kept on increasing and the overcrowding has taken place. In 1989, 69% have their own houses and then it reduced to 34%. Terrible decline has taken place because state has failed to provide proper housing facilities. Employment is indeed a necessary tool to keep the society moving. Unfortunately in the last five years, employment sector has suffered a lot. In 1998 consensus, only 17% of the populations were employed.
Later, talking about the marriages he said that in 1981, 39% of women were married which were between 18-24 years. This figure declined in 1998 and 2000. In 1981, 62% of women were illiterate and today we have both 82% of men and women illiterate.
In short, this part of the world has gone through a significant socio-economic change. What we need to learn is to learn about the mistakes we have done in the past 60 years. We need to be very careful while bringing any new policy since our little mistake can change the whole society, and mind you, sometimes that change can be very disastrous to our culture, values and our economy.